Eye on Lithium: China’s push to develop local projects fails to cool red hot lithium market
All your lithium news, Friday October 7.
Lithium chemical pricing in the Chinese domestic market continues to surge on the back of strong downstream demand from cathode manufacturers and constrained availability of supply, according to Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s latest price assessment.
Prices throughout September increased by 0.6% m-o-m in the Benchmark Lithium Price Index while spot prices for both lithium carbonate and hydroxide remained relatively stable in international markets – reflecting a hesitation to purchase material under current high prices and macroeconomic concerns by consumers.
“Robust downstream demand was indicated by strong Chinese EV sales figures in August, which reached 666,000 units, up 12.3% m-o-m and marking a historic record high,” the London-based price reporting agency says.
“Improving EV sales translated through into Chinese battery cell production figures in September, reaching 50.1 GWh, underscoring a 6.0% m-o-m increase and the first time the figure has surpassed the 50 GWh mark.”
Under strong demand, Benchmark says Chinese EV supply chain incumbents continued to announce investments into the development of domestic lithium projects in September, in a bid to improve localised lithium supply prospects on the back of a widening deficit.
34 lithium companies finished in the green, 39 tumbled into the red, and 58 stocks fell flat.
Allkem and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have agreed a non-binding term sheet for a project financing facility for the Sala de Vida Project in Argentina’s Catamarca Province.
IFC has proposed a US$200 million project finance facility to support Allkem’s development of Sal de Vida stage-1 and subject to finalisation of commercial terms, the facility is expected to reach financial close by the end of 2022.
“We are already in a strong financial position to self-fund the Sal de Vida project however we saw an opportunity to further improve the financing structure for Sal de Vida and partner with IFC,” AKE managing director and CEO Martin Perez de Solay says.
“Sal de Vida is expected to generate significant economy-wide benefits that will improve the fiscal outlook, economic performance and social outcomes at national, regional and local community levels.”
Funds have been received for a placement of new shares to raise up to $2.7m to advance lithium drilling and exploration program at the Forrestania Project in Western Australia.
FRS says exploration will focus predominantly on maiden lithium drill programs, regional soil sampling and ongoing environmental and heritage surveys.
In addition to the placement, the company intends to undertake a loyalty option entitlement offer to eligible shareholders.
“This is an exciting time as we move towards lithium focused drill programs and our ongoing soil sampling programs to refine existing anomalies and identify new areas to explore,” FRS managing director Angus Thomson says.
Odessa has decided to exercise its exclusive option to acquire a 148 km2 granted Exploration Licence (E08/3217) from Historic Gold Mines Pty, as per the binding agreement announced on September 20.
This tenement increases Odessa’s Lyndon Project area in the highly prospective Gascoyne region of Western Australia to 754 km2 – an area which holds considerable potential for the discovery of lithium pegmatites and rare earth element carbonatites.
Results from additional metallurgical test work completed at Dome North, within the wider Pioneer Dome Project in the heart of Western Australia’s lithium corridor in the eastern Goldfields has demonstrated positive recovery characteristics for previously untested domains.
High lithium recoveries (74%-82%) with the production of marketable concentrates have been confirmed and complement the earlier test work program completed on the Cade Fresh mineralisation.
These results will be incorporated in the scoping study for the project and will be used to help finalise a framework for potential partners to be involved.
Kula’s lithium exploration at its Brunswick Project, ~45km from the Greenbushes Lithium Mine is progressing ahead of expectations as field mapping and sampling of pegmatite occurrences continues.
With the recent capital raising completed, the company is now well funded to expedite the lithium exploration programs while continuing to assess new opportunities in the lithium sector that would complement the existing Brunswick Project.